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Reasons You Should Keep Your Sleeping Area Electronics Free

Reasons You Should Keep Your Sleeping Area Electronics Free

One thing I always notice whenever I take the bus or the train is how prevalent electronics are in our lives. Everyone’s eyes are almost always glued to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Unfortunately, the same thing happens when most of us go to bed – we bring our electronic devices to the bed and start surfing the interwebs or spending time on social network. This habit can not only affect your sleep quality, but also cause insomnia (as I’ve written about here). In fact, a Swedish study conducted in 2012 concluded that there is a correlation between heavy cellphone use to sleeping problems, stress and even depression. What’s worse is that sleeping disorders can increase the risk for heart attacks, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.

Reasons for Being Electronics Free

Below are reasons why you should keep your sleeping area electronics free.

 Electronics Cause Cognitive Simulation

Based on Mark Rosekind, a former director at the Fatigue Contermeasures Program at the NASA Ames Research Center,

One of the most simple but important reasons technology affects our sleep is cognitive simulation.

Spending time with electronic devices just before you get to bed can ramp up your brain activity which cause the neurons to start to race – something you don’t want happen when you’re trying to get some sleep. Whether you’re watching some Youtube videos, or just reading articles, you are causing your brain to work and to stay awake.

In my experience, it often times takes me much longer to snooze off whenever I watch Youtube videos on my smartphone while I’m on my bed.

Electronics Cause Physical Body Changes

Say you’re checking your email just before you sleep and see you have an new email from the company you just interviewed with. How would you feel? Will you be able to sleep?

Checking emails and playing video games are surefire ways to keep your body tensed up just before you head to bed. Surely, no one can fall asleep when they’re all tensed up correct?

Screen Light Affects Melatonin Production

Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone which is produced based on the circadian rhythm, aka, biological clock. The light that passes through your eyes work against and delay the release of melatonin. As such, whenever you’re on your electronic device in bed, you’ll often not feel sleepy – even if you are exhausted!

Mobile Phone Radiation Affects Brain Activity

A study conducted by Professor Andrew Wood from the Brain Sciences Institute at Melbourne’s Swiburne University found that exposure to electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones can affect your body’s sleep-wake cycle. The study which included 55 participants proved a heightened alpha-wave activity in the brain when participants were exposed to 30 minutes of mobile phone radiation. Alpha waves are associated with relaxation activities but normally disappear when you sleep. This increase in alpha waves in brain activity occurs in the first non-REM (rapid eye movement) period of the night when you sleep. Wood states:

Alpha waves are really only present when you’re lying awake with your eyes closed trying to fall asleep. If they are occurring during what would normally be sleep stages [it could be] the intrusion of some sort of wakeful brain activity at a time when it shouldn’t be there.

How To Keep Your Sleeping Area Electronic Free

So how do you stop yourself from being an electronic device addict when you’re about to get some sleep?

Use a Traditional Alarm Clock

Many individuals use their smartphones as their alarm clock to wake them up in the morning. This is probably the reason why so many people bring their phones with them when they head to bed. Using a traditional alarm clock could help you break the habit.

Turn Off Your Electronic Devices

By having a traditional alarm clock to wake you up, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to completely turn off your electronic devices. In addition to not exposing yourself to electromagnetic radiation, you also prevent any messages or social media updates to get to you which could potentially wake you up.

Have a Screen Free Hour Before Sleeping

As discussed in the 50 Ways to Get Rid of Insomnia article, sleep experts suggest that individuals incorporate a “screen free” hour before bedtime. Based on a study in Norway, there is a correlation between the duration individuals spend looking at the screen and the quality of their sleep. The more time you spend looking at your phone, the worse your quality of sleep.

Conclusion

In today’s modern society, technology is no doubt an integral part in all our lives. While it does make a lot of things much more convenient, it can also wreck havoc in terms of the quality of sleep we are getting. Dozens of studies have shown the adverse effects of using electronic devices on sleep quality. Fortunately, with some discipline and practice, we can all learn to eliminate electronics from our sleep area whenever it’s close to bedtime.


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